Life can be full of difficult and tempting choices, especially in an ever-changing world where anyone can be easily deceived by things that may look good, but in the end, those can separate us from God’s plan. How do you combat temptation?
We need to understand the heart of God. I want you to understand God’s heart for you as you’re in the wilderness or in a place of great temptation. It is sad that so many people think they know God but they have the wrong impression of who He is. Sometimes we project the attributes of our earthly parents’ onto our Heavenly Father. That’s a dangerous thing, even if they’re good things.
God is more powerful, more loving, more generous than any thought that is ever crossed your mind. Do you know what Romans 2:4 says? “It is His kindness that leads to repentance.” Repentance means changing your mind. When I want someone else to change their mind, I use a variety of tactics. Sometimes it is nagging or threatening or arguing.
When God wants us to change, do you know His tactic? How would he combat temptation? He shows His kindness. If that doesn’t work, what does He do? He shows us more kindness. And if that doesn’t work, He shows us more kindness. And if that doesn’t work He shows even more kindness!
Sometimes we add insult to injury because we’re struggling in the wilderness and we’re trying to overcome temptation but are failing. In our failure, we feel like God is somehow against us. Needless to say, that’s just another step in our fight against temptation.
Today we’re learning seven ways to combat temptation and win with a stronger, healthier faith.
7 Ways to Combat Temptation
1. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
When was the last time you said “God would you fill me with Your Spirit?” This isn’t rocket science. It’s not complicated but we’ve got to ask. We’ve got to continually be filled up with His Spirit.
2. Get a vision that is bigger and better than the temptation you face.
You don’t stop sinning by not sinning. You need to get a vision for your life that is so much bigger and better than anything else. Sin will not have an appeal if you have a greater vision for your life.
3. You need to make decisions against yourself.
You got to go the extra mile in the other direction of sin. You cannot give the enemy an inch or he will take a mile. Exercise your NO muscle. Let’s not ignore the fact that Jesus overcame temptations and He did so while fasting. (Matthew 4). If you can say no to food, you can say no to just about anything. Practice that spiritual discipline.
4. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
We got a put up some resistance. Most of my physical training right now is resistance training. If you want to get stronger you need to increase the resistance. You got to probably run the other direction. The best way to break a habit is to build a habit. If you want to break a bad habit, you build a good habit to take its place. (James 4:7)
5. Get help.
There are some things that you were not designed to overcome by yourself. You need to let some people in your life help you. We need to go get counseling. I don’t know anybody who has not needed counseling at some point in their life. We all need help. But some of us are afraid to go and get it.
6. Know His Word.
Jesus combats temptation with the Word because His Word won’t return void. His Word is powerful. “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11). Keep your focus on Christ.
“The Word is living and active- sharper than any double-edged sword. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ” Hebrews 4:12
7. Establish healthy and holy boundaries
Make those decisions before you have to make the decision. If you don’t make the decision before you’re in the situation, you will make the wrong choice. “I’m not going to go here, I’m not going to do this, I’m going to avoid that”, etc.
We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. But we have one who has been tempted in every way… just as we are. (Hebrews 4:15). Yet He did not sin.
He is the God who has been there and done that. Christ battled doubt, depression, loneliness, and injustice. He battled critics and cynics. He is the God who was misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misjudged. Because of that, He is the God who gets us.
He is the God who loves us. The very next verse says, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Mercy is getting what you do not deserve. Christ paid the penalty on the cross. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve- the riches and righteousness of Christ.
You are worth the cross to Christ. He loves you that much, he wants to help you that much because he believes in your potential in a relationship with Him.
He is a suffering Savior who identifies with your pain. He intercedes for us with groaning. If you doubt that, it’s the very lie that the enemy wants you to believe.
Fight the good fight of the faith and go victorious against temptation.